HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) — This is the time of year when you see changes in the fall lineup on your TV. Here at News 19, we’re making a change too. And we couldn’t be more excited for everyone involved.
You’ve probably heard by now that morning news anchor, Kelley Smith and her husband are expecting their first child in November. “I’m over the moon,” Kelley said with a huge smile, “I cannot wait.”
It’s a girl! “I already have her bag packed for the hospital,” she said as she showed me some of the going-home outfits that were in the bag.
But being a mom isn’t the only change coming for Kelley. “No. That’s not the only change,” she told me, “I’m going to be going on a different shift, starting a little later in the morning.” Right now, she comes in at 3 a.m. and leaves at 11 a.m. When she returns from maternity leave, her hours shift. “I’ll be coming in at 5 a.m. And I’m going to tell you right now, two hours makes a huge difference,” she said with a laugh.
It fits better for her new life as a working mom. “I want to be there when she wakes up in the morning and I want to be there when she goes to bed. I want to be part of the bedtime routine. You know, just part of her life in that way,” she told me. Kelley continued, “There was just a piece of me that knew I would be missing some really important parts of her daily life with the schedule that I had then.”
While the move improves Kelley’s family life, it also raises the question, who’ll anchor the early morning shift? I asked Emileigh Forrester and Lauren Layton the same question, are you a morning person or a night owl? Emileigh said, “I’m a morning TV person.” And Lauren responded immediately saying, “Oh, I’m a night owl easily. Mornings have always been tough.”
And because it better fits their lifestyles, Emileigh will move to mornings and Lauren to nights. “I’ll be coming in at 3 a.m.,” Emileigh told me. I responded, “That’s early.” She smiled and said, “Whew, sounds rough, 3 a.m. to 11 a.m. is going to be my shift and I’ll be on the desk from 5-7 a.m. with Steve and then I’ll be with Kelley at 9 a.m.”
Lauren is looking forward to working with the night team. “I got to anchor with Greg for a week when Steve was on vacation, and it was so much fun,” she told me. Both are looking forward to taking on a new challenge. “I’m really excited to be able to be on morning TV and help people wake up with their day,” Emileigh said.
Lauren added, “I’m so excited. I mean it’s hard to say there’s a shift you don’t want though. Because really, the worst thing is getting up. Once you’re in the building, I could be working nights. I could be working mornings. I could be working weekends. Once you’re here, the job is the same and the drive to do a good job is the same.”
More than anything else, we’re looking forward to the arrival of Kelley’s baby and her return to the air in February. Look for those changes on the anchor desk starting Monday, October 16th with News 19 This Morning.